RTM to open doors to Pakatan Rakyat?

Information Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek revealed today that Radio-Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) was free to invite anyone, including Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians, to appear on its programmes.


In a Malaysiakini report today, Shabery was quoted as saying that ‘the government’s radio and television network RTM does not have a policy barring menteris besar (MBs) or chief ministers (CM) from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat states from appearing on their programmes’.

“I believe that based on this policy, RTM is prepared to invite all quarters, including leaders from the opposition,” Shabery told the House in response to a question from Ahmad Kassim (PKR-Kuala Kedah)

Asked which programmes would be reserved for Barisan Nasional and Pakatan MBs and CMs, Shabery said he would leave it to RTM to decide based on the newsworthiness and appropriateness.


This statement suggests newfound ‘glasnost’ (a la Malaysia) because judging from the behaviour and attitude of Shabery’s predecessors, there appeared to be an unwritten policy of barring the Opposition before. The past information ministers often treated RTM as if it was a media institution, nay an ideological tool, meant to largely promote ruling BN’s interests.  


A few of the previous information ministers did try to feign ‘liberalism’, though, by allocating radio airtime to opposition politicians in a general election at a time when most of the Malaysians were snoring in the wee hours of the morning. In other words, the Opposition were not given the precious prime time that was normally allocated to the BN.


This notwithstanding, Shabery insisted that he’d leave it all to the RTM officials to give airtime consideration to the opposition politicians provided what the latter would want to offer or speak could be deemed, in the minds of the RTM folks, ‘newsworthy’ and ‘appropriate’.


So, there’s the rub. The RTM officials have the power to decide and define what ‘newsworthiness’ and ‘appropriateness’ are. This is somewhat akin to the powers that the Dewan Rakyat’s Speaker has in deciding what ‘urgent matters’ are. Many of the issues raised by the Opposition for discussions, such as the Hindraf leaders’ ISA detention, were turned down because they’re simply ‘not urgent’.


Given the unpleasant experience with Shabery’s predecessors, would it be a wonder if many of us would receive this ‘glasnost news’ with overcautious optimism, if not deep cynicism?




7 Responses to “RTM to open doors to Pakatan Rakyat?”

  1. 1 I am amused 11 July 2008 at 12:44 am

    I’ll believe it when I see it…

  2. 2 Robert Teh 11 July 2008 at 9:42 am

    Me, too!!!!!

  3. 3 ramzi 11 July 2008 at 11:18 am

    We have to wait until kucing tumbuh 3 tanduk.

  4. 4 ali b .talib 11 July 2008 at 11:18 am

    what?????? is 15 minutes on air sufficient to indicate views…what more if interuptted half way?????????

  5. 6 ash037 11 July 2008 at 4:59 pm

    please be positive guy….karang ni kalu org tu x bg, mula la kte kerajaan diskriminasi la, x press freedom la….bile dh bagi, banyk bunyi plak…cbe la optimis skit…org tu bru nk wat perubahan yg baik…kte bg la sdikit sokongn….

    yg benifit pn pakatan jgk…

  6. 7 Dan 1 August 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I still didn’t see any Pakatan Rakyat stories / interviews etc… just more and more “Pak Lah & Najib is great” and “Pak Lah & Najib – bess!” stories. Heck… everytime one of those two breaks wind RTM reports it as smelling sweet!

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